Health Report: Fairbanks calls for donors during National Annual Blood Collection Week

Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 4:52 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Through September 12th, hundreds of Blood Banks across America are celebrating The American Association of Blood Banks 15th National Annual Blood Collection week. This annual event was established to highlight and honor the lifesaving work performed by blood collectors, the professionals who save lives every day with their contributions to America’s blood banks.

Blood transfusion is a vital asset in the treatment of countless medical conditions. Human blood cannot be manufactured, has a limited shelf life, and needs to constantly be replenished by generous donors to ensure the health and safety of the community. But with the COVID-19 on everyone’s minds, donations have slowed down in Fairbanks Alaska.

Courtney Reynolds, manager of the Blood Bank of Alaska in Fairbanks spoke with us to cover their current status and what Fairbanks residents can do to help during this week of recognition: “We actually need all blood types right now. Usually we have one or two that we are asking for, but we’re in need right now of everything across the board. Right now is a time of year that is a little bit slower in general for blood collecting. And with the pandemic it’s just added to that stress. So we’re looking for O-Negative, O-Positive, A-Positive, A-Negative, B-Positive, and B-Negative, including the ABs. So all blood types across the board.”

For those apprehensive of coming in to donate due to COVID-19, Reynolds covered the precautionary measures being taken to ensure the health and safety of their donors. “We are cleaning after everybody who comes in of course. We are wearing our masks, and we’re asking our donors to wear masks but we’re not mandating it. And we’re trying to maintain that six foot distance as well," Reynolds said.

We also spoke with blood donor Shawn Estelle, who commented on his experiences as a donor, as well as it’s importance to the people of Fairbanks. “I’ve been donating for about a couple of years now. It’s a super easy process, it only takes about an hour, and you can come in every two months or so. It’s a pretty straightforward process that a lot of people are scared of, but it’s really easy. All the technicians here are really good at guiding you though and always make sure it’s a nice and smooth process from start to finish. You save up to three lives every time you donate. It gives back straight to the community. If you talk around, you can talk to some of the people who receive the blood, and to the people who have to use the blood for the patients -- and so you definitely see that effect pretty immediately," said Estelle.

For those of you who might be planning on donating, the Alaska Blood Bank in Fairbanks will be changing its hours as of the 22nd -- allowing people to come donate on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. but closing on Mondays.

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